COVID-19 FOOD AND FINANCIAL RELIEF

Resources and strategies to help those experiencing hardship

Currently, there are a number of measures being considered to help families financially over the coming weeks. So far, most larger companies that are closing are committing to pay employees. Retail and service industries like restaurants, movie theaters, etc., will be the hardest hit, especially in areas that are requiring those establishments to eliminate in-person service or shut down completely. People who anticipate having trouble making payments should review the “Steps to Take” list below. They should also seek financial assistance options in their areas (see “Local Relief Measures” section below).


If you are looking for ways to help, visit our Serve Local page HERE.



Steps To Take If You’re

Concerned About Paying Bills

  • If you haven’t looked at a budget in a while, now’s the time to do so. Every Dollar is a great free app to use to get a budget together.
  • Get clarity, where possible, from your income sources as to what the reality will look like over the coming weeks.
  • Cut spending to bare necessities. If you can’t pay all of your bills, Dave Ramsey recommends you spend your money on these four items first and in this order: food, utilities, shelter, transportation. 
  • If you would like us to put you in contact with one of our Financial Peace University Coordinators for budgeting assistance please contact us at:

    [email protected]

DEFER PAYMENTS:

If you’re still not able to cover all of your expenses, identify payments that can be deferred: 

  • Call creditors to explain your situation. You can ask for temporary relief on your monthly payments. If you offer to still send some money, even if it’s a smaller amount than your typical payment, they might be more willing to work with you. 
  • If you have federal student loans, you can forbear (interest accrues) or defer (interest doesn’t accrue on subsidized federal loans) your loan payments: Federal student loan payments suspended with no interest during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • If you’re paying extra on debt(s) right now and have less than one to two months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund, it might not be a bad idea to temporarily stop extra payments and then restart them once things settle down.
  • Enroll for health insurance if you can.
  • Use this week to get a game plan together and gather information, as there may be more changes coming.



NATIONAL RELIEF MEASURES

(Updated 3/30)

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY:

  • Interest is being waived on federal student loans. Details are still being finalized, but it sounds like monthly payments won’t be reduced. Instead, more of the minimum payment will go to principal, since they won’t be charging interest. In short, this won’t result in short-term relief.
  • The IRS has said tax payments will be deferred with no interest or penalties for 90 days.
  • Foreclosures and evictions will be suspended on all HUD-owned properties until the end of April.
  • Foreclosures will be suspended for 60 days on mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac .
  • Free COVID-19 testing to anyone, regardless of insurance status
  • Emergency paid leave for up to three months if you are sick, quarantined, or taking care of a sick family member. It would be 2/3 of your normal salary and doesn’t apply if you receive unemployment compensation (employers with fewer than 500 employees).
  • Paid sick leave for two weeks (employers with fewer than 500 employees).
  • Send stimulus checks directly to American households in two rounds. The first round would begin April 6 and the second would begin May 18. The proposed amount for each round would be $1,200 for every adult and $500 for every child. Check amounts will start to be phased out if adjusted gross income from 2018 tax returns is above $75,000 for an individual or $150,000 for a couple. Some reporting says that individuals with adjusted gross income above $99,000 will not be eligible


PROPOSED IDEAS, NOT YET IN PLACE:

  • Potential payroll tax cut for employees through the end of 2020 (Social Security 6.2% and Medicare 1.45%). This would mean eliminating these tax deductions out of paychecks.
  • $300 billion small business loan program to provide companies with 500 or less employees access to funds to continue paying employees.

LOCAL RELIEF MEASURES

24/7 HELPLINE: 211 LAKE COUNTY

UPDATES

FOOD ASSISTANCE

UTILITIES


CELL PHONE/INTERNET
  • Xfinity will not disconnect or add late fees for customers who contact the company. Customers will have unlimited data for 60 days, and Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots will be free for anyone. New customers will also get access to 60 days of free Internet Essentials service (25 Mbps).
  • AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint will not terminate or add late fees for the next 60 days. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are also open and customers will receive unlimited Internet data. 
  • T-Mobile advises customers with past-due amounts to set up payment arrangements online. 

MEDICAL & PRESCRIPTIONS


BUSINESSES, UNEMPLOYMENT, TAXES AND DMV